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North Castle Books

Customer Visits: Building a Better Market Focus, Third Edition
Authored by: Edward F. McQuarrie

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-2224-2 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-2225-9
Cloth Price Paper Price
USD: $116.95 USD: $65.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 232pp. Tables, figures, bibliography, index.
Publication Date: April 2008.  


Description: Visits to customers by a cross-functional team of marketers and engineers play an important role in new product development, entry into new markets, and in exploring customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The new edition of this widely used professional resource provides step-by-step instructions for making effective use of this market research technique.

Using a wealth of specific examples, Edward F. McQuarrie explains how to set feasible objectives and how to select the right number of the right kind of customers to visit. One of the leading experts in the field, McQuarrie demonstrates how to construct a discussion guide and how to devise good questions, and offers practical advice on how to conduct face-to-face interviews.

Extensively updated throughout, this third edition includes three new chapters as well as expanded coverage of the analysis of visit data. It also discusses which industries and product categories are most (and least) suitable to the customer visit technique. The author also covers how the customer visit technique compares to other market research techniques such as focus groups.

Selected Contents:

Focus of the Book
Developments Since the First and Second Editions
Who Should Read This Book

Part 1. Rationale

1. Why Visit Customers?
Customer Visits and Market Focus
Promise and Peril of Customer Visits
Additional Information

2. Customer Visits as a Distinctive Approach to Market Research
Why Do Market Research at All?
Why Do Market Research via Personal Visits?
Why Visits By Cross-Functional Teams?
Additional Benefits of Team Visits
Additional Information

3. Limits, Boundary Cases, and the Sweet Spot for Customer Visits
When Customer Visits Are Not the Technique of Choice
The Sweet Spot for Customer Visits
Boundary Cases
From Conceptual Rationale to Practical Advice
Additional Information

Part 2. Procedures

4. Programmatic, Ad Hoc, and Hybrid Approaches to Visiting Customers
Ad Hoc Visits
Hybrid and Emerging Visit Types
How to Harvest Data from Ad hoc Visits

5. Planning a Program of Visits
Why a Program of Visits?
Appropriate and Inappropriate Applications for Visit Programs
A Seven-Step Procedure for Planning Customer Visit Programs
To Begin: Set Objectives
Additional Information

6. Budgets, Recruitment, Coordination, Team Preparation, and Time Line
Cost Factors
Recruit Customers
Coordination with the Sales Force
Select Team Members
Time Frame
Additional Information

7. Selecting Customers to Visit
Devising a Sample Frame
Special Cases in Sample Selection
Additional Information

8. Preparing a Discussion Guide
The Goal: Information Capture
The Discussion Guide
A Process for Team Preparation of a Discussion Guide
Additional Information

9. Constructing Good Questions
Preparation but Also Spontaneity
Importance of Open-Ended Questions
Workhorse Questions
Specialized Question Strategies
Criteria for Effective and Ineffective Questions
A Few Specific Questions to Avoid
How to Ask Questions About Pricing
The Importance of Follow-Up Questions
Additional Information

10. Conducting the Visits
Interview Format: Time Boundaries
Interview Format: Spatial Considerations
Group Versus Individual Interviews
Interview Roles
Interview Skills
Five Difficult Interview Situations
Additional Information

11. Completing the Visit Program
Analysis and Reporting
Dissemination of Results
Storage of Results
Closure for Customers and the Field
Additional Information

Part 3. Analysis

12. Generalizability of Visit Data

13. Procedures for the Analysis of Visit Data
Process of Analysis: Baseline Approach
Analysis of Visit Data: A Closer Look
Visual Representation of Visit Data
Tips for Improving the Analysis of Visit Data
Additional Information

14. The Place of Customer Visits Within the Market Research Toolbox
Compartments in the Market Research Toolbox
Research Planning
Customer Visits Compared to Kindred Techniques
Combination Strategies Involving Customer Visits
Two Mistakes to Avoid
Additional Information

Appendix: Checklist for Conducting a Program of Customer Visits
About the Author

Comment(s): "We've asked hundreds of marketers and thought leaders for the most important thing a marketer can do for a firm. Answer: Bring new techniques for discerning real customer needs. That's where Customer Visits comes in. This jewel of a book shows you how to make customer visits powerful tools for customer insight. It's a great read and a powerful resource." -- Ralph A. Oliva, Executive Director, Institute for the Study of Business Markets Penn State University

"This new edition of Customer Visits is a must-read book for anyone whose firm markets products to other businesses. This is a book I read every few years, just to remind myself what a good execution of a piece of marketing research requires. I always strongly recommend it as a professional purchase to my MBA Marketing Core students. Ed McQuarrie presents a great deal of practical content on how to prepare for, conduct and analyze customer visits - in an enjoyably readable and practical form." -- Abbie Griffin, Royal L. Garff Presidential Chair in Marketing University of Utah

Review(s): "This book will interest company representatives and management involved in sales, customer relations, and marketing. It is clearly written and offers an interesting history of the development of the tradition the customer visit." -- Reference & Research Book News

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